Physical Fitness for Seniors: Week 6 Strength Training Progression

Physical Fitness for Seniors

Physical Fitness for Seniors: Week 6 Resistance Training Progression!

 

If you’ve been following my series of strength building articles for senior newbies, you’d probably have guessed that this is the follow-up from my last blogpost where I touched on the progressions for week 4 and week 5.

 

And you’d have guessed correctly.

 

For those who are reading this for the first time, in my first 1st blog post I introduced a very simple strength training routine comprising only 4 exercises that you can do at home without any equipment.

 

I followed up with my 2nd blogpost on how to increase resistance and intensity in those 4 movements and introduced suspension training plus the concept of training to failure i.e. where you are unable to do any more repetitions for that movement.

 

In this 3rd blogpost I’m going to show you how to progress further by adding one movement and substituting the TRX squat with another movement to make it more difficult thereby increasing the resistance and intensity, that is, if you’re ready for further progressions.

 

If you’re still at weeks 4 and 5 or even at week 3, please don’t feel pressurized to move or jump into further progressions until your’re fully ready and not before. The only way to tell if you’re ready is to ensure you can reach or surpass those maximum rep ranges e.g. if you can easily do 15 reps of normal push-ups then you can progress to doing decline push-ups with your feet up on low stool. And once you can easily do 15 reps of low decline push-ups then you put your legs up on a higher stool or maybe even a chair. The same goes for the other movements I’ve mentioned in my earlier blog posts as well as this one. 

 

Recap of Weeks 4 and 5

 

Ok, let’s do a recap of the progressions I introduced in my last blog post for weeks 4 and 5. Please bear in mind that after the warm up, the rep range mentioned in the movements are done to failure i.e. you can’t manage another rep at all. Then quickly move on to the next exercise because now you’re doing circuits, not individual stand alone exercises by themselves. And remember, in resistance training circuits you don’t rest until after you complete all the exercises in a circuit. This is to ensure you get a cardio workout at the same time.

 

Week 4

 

Warm-Up

 

Push-up (any variation, preferably the version that’s very easy for you) – 8 to 10 reps

TRX row (last feet position in the towel row when you could do the reps easily) – 8 to 10 reps

Chair Squat – 8 to 10 reps

 

Circuit 1

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Rest 60 – 90 seconds

 

Circuit 2

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Rest 60 – 90 seconds

 

Week 5

 

Warm-Up

 

Push-up (any variation, preferably the version that’s very easy for you) – 8 to 10 reps

TRX row (last feet position in the towel row when you could do the reps easily) – 8 to 10 reps

Chair Squat – 8 to 10 reps

 

Circuit 1

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Rest 60 – 90 seconds

 

Circuit 2

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Rest 60 – 90 seconds

 

Circuit 3

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Physical Fitness for Seniors

Starting on Week 6

 

As I mentioned just now, in this article I’m going to increase the intensity and resistance of this beginner’s program so that you can progress safely working out at home.

 

This will be done by adding the TRX Y, T & L raises so that you can increase shoulder stability and decrease the risks of having any rotator cuff and shoulder injuries. Now these are 3 different movements but don’t be alarmed by this because you’ll be rotating these movements in your workouts in week 6.

 

For example, if you workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you’ll do the TRX Y raises on Monday, TRX T raises on Wednesday and the TRX L raises on Friday. Likewise if you workout on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

 

Also for those who find the TRX Squat a piece of cake and can easily do 25 reps in each of the 3 circuits, you’re probably strong and fit enough to progress to bodyweight split squats which is a single leg movement that can not only increases your lower body strength but also increase your balance.

 

Now let’s see why these new movements are so beneficial.

 

The TRX Y, T and L Raises

 

Those who have had shoulder impingements, rotator cuff pain and mild ac (acromioclavicular) joint strains would definitely benefit from these movements.

 

I learned how to do the YTWLs on an exercise bench more than a decade back when I had rotator cuff pains and my rehab therapist taught them to me to increase shoulder stability and get my rotator cuff back into shape so that I could workout again.

 

So when I found out that the TRX had their versions of YTLs (unfortunately no Ws), I started including them into my workouts and since then I’ve never had any shoulder or rotator cuff injuries and pains again.

 

And oh, if you still have not bought your TRX, you can get it HERE.

 

Bodyweight Split Squats

 

Bodyweight split squats are one of the best lower body exercises.

 

It works and strengthens your quadriceps (front thigh muscles), hamstrings (back thigh muscles), and adductors (inner thigh muscles).

 

This excellent single leg movement also engages your core – abs, obliques and lower back so you’re able to keep your body upright and balanced as your hips go up and down during the movement.

 

A huge benefit is that this movement improves the flexibility of your hip flexors; these are the muscles that are used when you bend or flex your legs at your hips. So, in effect doing this movement will improve the mobility of your lower body.

 

This movement is what is called a loaded stretch: as you lower yourself down with one leg and the other leg supporting, your bodyweight forces a big stretch on the muscles of your hip flexors, adductors and hamstrings that are doing the work. When you come up from the bottom, your muscles work hard to push your working leg back up and out of that deep range. So every time you’re doing the movement, you’re stretching dynamically and you teach your body to increase strength in that range of motion.

 

As you get stronger and more flexible, you can increase the depth by which you lower yourself to so as to increase the range of motion. This in itself will increase resistance and intensity.

 

How to Perform these Movements

 

TRX Y Raises            

 

As I mentioned in the previous section the TRX Y raise is the first of the trilogy of TRX shoulder movements which will build both strength and stability in your entire shoulder and rotator cuff. Although the TRX Y primarily hits the lateral deltoids (side shoulder muscles), the entire upper back is also involved.

 

Stand slightly forward as shown in the video below; pull the TRX handles back and apart until your arms and body resemble a giant letter”Y.”

 

 

TRX T Raises

 

The second shoulder strengthening and stability movement is the TRX T raise. Although it hits mainly the posterior deltoids (the back shoulder muscles) again like the TRX Y raise, the entire upper back is also strongly involved in this movement.

 

Stand slightly forward as shown in the video below, pull the TRX handles back and apart until your arms and body resemble a giant letter “T”.

 

 

The TRX L Raise

 

The last TRX movement to increase shoulder strength and stability is the TRX L raise.

 

This movement works and strengthens all the small muscles in the rotator cuff area, thereby enabling shoulder stability.

 

Again, like the previous 2 TRX movements the Y and the T raises, stand slightly forward and pull the TRX handles back and apart until both arms form a “L” as shown in the video below.

 

 

Bodyweight Split Squats

 

As I mentioned earlier this is one of the best lower body movements to strengthen your quadriceps (front thigh muscles), hamstrings (back thigh muscles) and adductors (inner thigh muscles). It’s more advanced and tougher than the TRX squat because it’s a single leg movement.

 

Now please remember folks, you should progress to the bodyweight split squats ONLY if you are able to do 25 reps of more on the TRX squat. If you can’t get a minimum of 25 reps on the TRX squat then please stick to it until you’re able to perform 25 reps.

 

Sorry I had to put that in bold prints because at our age, we need to be extremely vigilant regarding being absolutely sure before progressing to the next level otherwise we can get pulled muscles very easily.

 

Okay with that out of the way, here’s how you perform the bodyweight split squats.

 

 

Now for those who have got balance issues when doing single leg movements, please ensure you have table, sofa or chair in front of you. You can start off by using either 1 of both hands to hold onto the furniture in front for balance.

 

As you get stronger and your balance improves, you can dispense with holding onto the sofa or whatever the furniture that’s in front of you.

 

Putting Everything Together for Week 6

 

Now that I’ve given a preview on how to perform the movements, let’s have a look how the week 6 program looks like.

 

Week 6

 

Day 1

 

Warm-Up

 

Push-up (any variation, preferably the version that’s very easy for you) – 8 to 10 reps          

TRX Y Raises – 8 to 10 easy reps

TRX row (last feet position in the towel row when you could do the reps easily) – 8 to 10 reps

TRX Squat – 8 to 10 easy reps

 

3 Circuits of:

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Y Raises – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

Bodyweight Split Squats – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Rest between circuits 60 – 90 seconds

 

Day 2            

 

Warm-Up

 

Push-up (any variation, preferably the version that’s very easy for you) – 8 to 10 reps   

TRX T Raises – 8 to 10 easy reps

TRX Row (last feet position in the towel row when you could do the reps easily) – 8 to 10 reps

TRX Squat – 8 to 10 easy reps                    

 

3 Circuits of:

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX T Raises – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

Bodyweight Split Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum

 

Rest between circuits 60 – 90 seconds

 

Day 3                                     

 

Warm-Up

 

Push-up (any variation, preferably the version that’s very easy for you) – 8 to 10 reps   

TRX L Raises – 8 to 10 easy reps

TRX Row (last feet position in the towel row when you could do the reps easily) – 8 to 10 reps

TRX Squat – 8 to 10 easy reps

 

3 Circuits of:

 

Push-ups (any variation) – 8 to 12 reps

TRX L Raises – 8 to 12 reps

TRX Row – 8 to 12 reps

Bodyweight Split Squat – 10 to 15 reps

Front Plank – 30 secs minimum        

 

Rest between circuits 60 – 90 seconds

 

There you have it. If you’re able to advance into week 6 easily, that’s excellent – you’re ready for higher intensity workouts at the intermediate-beginner level.

 

But for most folks in their 50s and 60s, especially those who are overweight and have not exercised for decades, you’ll probably be at week 4. Don’t worry; as I mentioned earlier take your time to progress into this because it’s not a contest to see who gets strong and fit the fastest. Rather these series of articles on resistance training are to prompt you to start the road to fitness via resistance training and to provide you with a proper template for progression. So progress only when you’re able to and not before.

 

If you have any questions to raise, please send me an email: galen@fitandhealthybeyond50.com.

 

See you in the next post!     

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